This is the FINAL installment of posts covering our brief trip to Mexico. Considering the fact that that the US State Department just released a travel advisory for Mexico, I suppose we were lucky to make it back safely. Even though parts of Guadalajara were dustier and more rustic than I remembered it from 14 years ago, I felt 100% safe the entire time. This time, we never made it out to the swankier neighborhoods except to see the Coldplay concert our last night. This suited us fine as we like to get down & dirty with local culture anyway.
I must admit that I noticed different aspects of the city now that I’m living healthier than I was in 1997. It is a city that is conducive to healthy living, with a little bit of care.
1. Walk it off
People tend to walk a lot and take public transportation. This is true in almost every country except North America. I believe that this makes a big difference in general health.
As an aside: we had a fun experience on the very crowded, bumpy bus-ride out to the concert. As people would get on through the rear entrance, they would then pass up their fare to the bus driver via 20 other passengers or more. THEN, if change was needed, those same people passed the change back. So classic. We tried to get some photos, but these folks are quick:
Honesty IS the best policy: When Derek was given these coins, he thought “Why thank you very much”, as he started to pocket the loot, but the nice man informed him to pass it along, por favor.
More classic bus scenes:
I have this effect on men. The bags under my eyes tell me that I should join this muchacho in a much-needed siesta.
2. Grab & Go Healthy eats
Not everyone is on-board the street-food train that we are. Some are wary of germs and probably with good reason. Having said that, we have eaten street food for decades and have never once been burned (she says fiercely beating on a piece of wood)
Taking our chances? Perhaps. Sooooo worth it.
These were very lean pork sandwiches with a sauce that had not one iota of grease. That makes me happppppy!
Notice the baggie hanging to the lady’s right?
BREAD BUTTS!!! My favorite part of the bread: the ends. They cut them off (as if they are somehow unlovable) so we asked if we could have some to soak up the yummy sauce. SURE! NO PROBLEMO!
Here in Mexico (and in parts of California) you can buy delicious and fresh fruit or veggies from refrigerated street carts. I spotted numerous fruit stands where everything is cut and ready to hand to you in a plastic tub or baggie- fork included. We’re talking HUGE containers of mangoes, strawberries, melon and pineapples as well as cucumbers, jicima and more. Depending on what’s on offer, you can get hot sauce or powder, lime and salt as well.
On the upper left: Strawberries. Upper right: cut-up wieners (what else?) and below: I haven’t a clue: I failed to grill appropriately.
I bought a very unconventional ‘dinner’ to bring into the Coldplay concert: a huge charred corn-on-the-cob from a street-vendor, I loved the fact that he dawned a plastic bag as a makeshift ‘glove’ in order to handle the money, and removed it while handling the food. '¡Olé!' for hygienic practices!
Nom, what else goes perfectly with Corn-On-The-Cobb? Justin’s Almond Butter, of course!
3. Move it or Lose it
There is definitely a concerted effort on the part of the local health department to actively promote healthier living. For example, every Sunday, miles upon miles of very busy public roads are closed to automobile traffic between 8am and 2pm in order to encourage people to bike, skate or walk for exercise and transportation.
This is the street near our hotel on any given day. It’s crazy-busy yet you can’t hear the road noise from the hotel at all. How does that happen? Were we in a vortex?
This is the same street on Sundays. The road is closed to traffic and people really do take advantage of it.
We noted dozens of wardens helping to streamline the process. I am not sure if they were volunteers or paid staff, but it was an impressive show of fitness force.
As luck may (or may not) have it, you might encounter a shop or two like this along your walk or bike ride, so enter at own risk:
Cupcakes are so 2009…this whole store sells COOKIES only.
This was a random bakery that called our names from the street:
Caution must be exercised as well as your legs.
Top left: If I recall, it was made with tequila & looked amazing, but tasted ‘meh’. Upper right: meringue (‘twas tasty);Below: a savory turnover with cheese and mushrooms. Similar to a modified Cornish Pasty. Some of you might know a little bit about those.
5. Go Green (and red and orange and yellow)
I guess we aren’t the only country that is collectively lacking in our fruit and veggie consumption. These posters were ALL over the city:
Not only does it promote ‘eating’ green, but it promotes ‘being’ green by buying Mexican produce.
6. Services Rendered
There seemed to be no shortage of wellness services being offered. I spotted General Practitioners as well at nutritionists and even an unphotographed day spa.
I must admit I was a bit surprised to see “Anorexia y Bulimia” on the list of maladies treated by this practitioner. But if there is a need, I’m glad that it is being addressed.
Another local nutritionist's office
7, Pump it
Finally, there were a fair few gyms to be found around the area including a Gold’s that would have been free, except for the two busses and 40 minute commute. Lucky for me, there was an appropriately-named “American’s Gym” that happened to be 1/2 block away from our B&B. The girl at the hotel proclaimed it to be “not very nice”, but I took my chances. I’m the queen of “not very nice!”
Yes, we Americans all look like these two.
This gym was by no means swanky, but it was perfectly functional. Well, until it wasn’t functional as pictured here:
Oops- best not to yank this chain!
I was impressed with their emphasis on hygiene: Behold this huge jug of sanitizing gel:
The bottle is almost as big as this muchaco’s pecs.
If my Spanish serves me well, you can take this Kickboxing class and leave with minimal lesions and maximal adrenaline. I prefer no lesions, personally.
Finally some random photos:
Wheelchair Accessibility? Um, yes and no… Yes on one side and No on the other. City planners had too much tequila? Just guessing.
Food Porn. Some huge slab of meat and veggies (Derek’s dish)
Chicken Mole! Remember my Holy Mole shake? This is the dish of inspiration. (Note: I did ask for the sauce on the side, but I was NOT about to send it back or even mention it! Yay me!)
OK somehow I missed the fact that this is a TORTILLERIA!!! I made a bee-line for the veggies (3 guavas were procured). If I knew they had the hand-made (“hecha a mano”) tortilla stash back there I would have been all over it, especially the “tortilla de nopal” = Cactus tortilla!
THE END OF THIS SERIES ON MEXICO!!
Q: Do you live in a city that encourages a healthy life-style? Do you have access to trails or sidewalks or bike paths?